Today in History:

53 Series I Volume XIX-I Serial 27 - Antietam Part I


army was massed in the vicinity of the field of battle, in readiness to renew the action the next day or to move in pursuit of the enemy.

At daylight our skirmishers were advanced, and it was found that he had retreated during the night, leaving his dead on the field and his wounded uncared for.

About 1,500 prisoners were taken by us during the battle, and the loss to the enemy in killed was much greater than our

own, and probably also in wounded. It is believed that force opposed to us at Turner's Gap consisted of D. H. Hill's corps (15,000) and a part, if not the whole, of Longstreet's, and perhaps a portion off Jackson's, probably some 30,000 in all. We went into action with about 30,000 men, and our losses amounted to 1,568 aggregate (312 killed, 1,234 wounded, and 22 missing).*

On the next day I had the honor to receive the following very kind dispatch from His Excellency the President:


Washington, September 15, 1862-2.45 p.m.

Major-General McCLELLAN:

Your dispatch of to-day received. God bless you and all with you.

Destroy the rebel army if possible.



On the night of the battle of South Mountain orders were given to the corps commanders to press forward the pickets at early dawn. This advance revealed the fact that the enemy had left his positions, and an immediate pursuit was ordered-the cavalry under General Pleasonton and the three corps under Generals Sumner, Hooker, and Mansfield, the latter of whom had arrived that morning and assumed command of the Twelfth (Williams')

Corps by the National turnpike and Boonsborough, the corps of Generals Burnside and Porter (the latter command at that time consisting of but one weak division, Sykes')by the Old Sharpsburg road, and General Franklin to move into Pleasant Valley, occupy Rohrersville by a detachment, and endeavor to relieve Harper's Ferry; Generals Burnside and Porter, upon reaching the road from Boonsborough to Rohrersville, were to re-enforce Franklin, or to move on Sharpsburg, according to circumstances. Franklin moved toward Brownsville and found at here a force of the enemy, much superior in numbers to his own, drawn up in a strong position to receive him. At this time the cessation of firing at Harper's Ferry indicated the surrender of that place. The cavalry overtook the enemy's cavalry in Boonsborough, made a daring charge, killing and wounding a number, and capturing 250 prisoners and 2 guns. General Richardson's division of the Second Corps, pressing the rear guard of the enemy with figure, passed Boonsborough and Keedysville, and came upon the main body of the enemy, occupying in large force a strong position a few miles beyond the latter place.

It had been hoped to engage the enemy during the 15th. Accordingly, instructions were given that if the enemy were overtaken on the march, they should be attacked at once; if found in heavy force and in position, the corps in advance should be placed in position for attack,and await my arrival. On reaching the advanced position of our troops, I found but two divisions, Richardson's and Syke's, in position. The other troops were halted in the road, the head of the column some distance in rear of Richardson. The enemy occupied a strong position on


*But see revised statement, pp. 184-188.